Christian writer Belle Tindall has avidly followed the unbelieveable events around Olivia Wilde’s film Don’t Worry Darling. Here she explains why our response is a bigger issue than Olivia’s behaviour.
Unless you’ve been living under a (pretty blissful) rock, you may have stumbled into the drama-storm surrounding director Olivia Wilde, her new film Don’t Worry Darling, and what looks like the PR tour from hell. Olivia Wilde is the internet’s new obsession; she has officially been given the role of “the one we all love to hate”. And that hate is loud.
But this endless criticism is all her own doing, right? I mean, she shouldn’t have been such a badly-behaved director. Lying about decisions she may or may not have made, feuding with her lead actor, dating her other lead actor, a little more feuding, being a “bad mum” while on set, being a “bad mum” in general, probably a dash more feuding, and something called “spit-gate” which despite extensive research, I still don’t quite understand. Phew. That’s a lot of bad behaviour. To explain the blow by blow would take several articles in itself - so if you want the full lowdown read Cosmopolitan’s extensive breakdown here.
While I’m not proud of it, I’m always willing to dive head-first into a little celebrity drama. I’m pretty sure I have the equivalent of a law degree from the amount of the Depp-Heard case I watched. And so, you better believe that I hopped onto the Wilde-Is-The-Worst train. Accusation after accusation, I was mentally collecting them all.
None of the male directors were forced to answer question after question about things that weren’t their work, and none of their films were tainted by it.
And then I realised something. Even if every single accusation thrown at Olivia Wilde was completely accurate (which, let’s be honest- they’re probably not!), her behaviour would still be nowhere near as problematic as countless male directors. And yet, where’s their mass of bad press?
Let me take you on a quick stroll down Bad-Behaviour Lane…
Michael Bay, the director of Transformers was described by his cast as a “mad-man” and a “tyrant” on set. Joss Wheden, the man who gave us 2017’s Justice League, allegedly left his cast and crew feeling threatened and unsafe. It was reported that Francis Ford-Coppola, the utter genius behind The Godfather and Dracula, treated his lead actresses so badly that they were left physically shaking. The same has been said of David O’Russell, who took his method approaches to a whole new level. While filming American Hustle, he verbally abused Amy Adams in such an extreme way that her co-star, Christian Bale, reportedly had to step in. And that’s without going near the likes of Alfred Hitchcock, Roman Polanski, or Woody Allen whose behaviour goes way beyond the realm of problematic.
And yet, The Godfather? Critically aclaimed. American Hustle? Drowned in Oscar buzz. Transformers? Box-office smash. Justice League? Well, let’s leave that one there. But do you see my point? None of these directors were hit with a tidal wave of criticism over their behaviour, none of them were forced to answer question after question about things that weren’t their work, and none of their films were tainted by it. All of that has been saved just for Olivia.
And the more I thought about that, the more I questioned whether we would be talking about any of this if she was a man, the more I wondered whether this might be something that’s happening all over the place.
Are we forcing women to prove so much more, just because they’re women?
Hear me out, I’m in no way condoning any kind of bad behaviour by any person in any sphere of society. People in leadership being awful is a whole other conversation. I’m just wondering, are we forcing women to prove so much more, just because they’re women? Are we quicker to criticise? Slower to forgive? Do we ‘deal’ with women more eagerly? And offer them so much less slack than their male counterparts? Are we unable to separate a woman’s work from her demeaner while she’s doing it? Is Taylor Swift actually dead-right when she sings that if she were a man: “what she was wearing and if she was rude could all be separated from her good ideas and power moves.” Trust me, she’s wiser than we know.
Look- Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe Olivia Wilde is awful to work with and be around. But maybe I’m right, and maybe we could really help each other out by noticing when these double-standards seem to pop up.